WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden argued Wednesday that the gender pay gap has hurt the economy, prompting members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team to the White House to help set new goals. of equality.
Wednesday was marked “Equal Pay Day,” which indicates how far into the year women must work on average to make up for the wage gap between what men and women earned the previous year. The Census Bureau estimates that a woman working full time would earn about 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man.
Biden and his wife, Jill, hosted a panel discussion with Margaret Purce and Megan Rapinoe from the United States women’s national soccer team, and other team members who attended virtually. The president then signed a proclamation honoring the day.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an electrician, an accountant, or part of the best fucking football team in the world,” Biden said. “The pay gap is real. And this team is living proof that you can be the best at what you do and still have to fight for equal pay. “
The women’s team won the World Cup four times, most recently in 2019. But that same year it sued the United States Soccer Federation for pay discrimination. The lawsuit was dismissed in May because the women had accepted a different base salary structure than the men’s soccer team. The women’s team plans to appeal the dismissal.
Despite those victories. They have devalued me, they have disrespected me and they have fired me because I am a woman, ”Rapinoe said Wednesday with the president. “And they have told me that I do not deserve more than less, because I am a woman.”
The wage gap affects the entire economy in ways that exacerbate other problems, including racial inequality. The National Center for Women’s Law found that black women earn only 63 cents for a dollar paid to a non-Hispanic white male, while Hispanic women earn only 55 cents. That difference translates to a loss of approximately $ 1 million in income over a lifetime.
“These are not simply women’s issues,” Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said at Wednesday’s press conference. “They affect all families, the resilience of our economy and the competitiveness of our nation.”
The Biden administration is pushing through several policies to help narrow the gap. Supports the Paycheck Fairness Protection Act, which would improve a 1963 law by improving employer transparency about wages, requires employers to demonstrate that any discrepancies are due to job qualifications, and prevents employers from retaliating against workers expressing concerns about wage disparities.
The administration also supports paid family leave and increased access to child care. A research article from February The San Francisco Federal Reserve Board found that the pandemic caused mothers to disproportionately leave the job market, as many lacked school and childcare options in the classroom. The document noted that flexible work hours would likely make life easier for working mothers.